Jimmy has always been a naughty cat. One of his favorite pastimes was going outside and wandering around the neighborhood around his house, until one day he didn’t return.
Jimmy’s parents were never concerned about his playing outside since he was a seasoned player who rarely ventured far. He enjoyed hanging out in the driveway, going on walks with his family and dog, and visiting the neighbors for snacks. He loved to sneak into parked automobiles via open windows and stay for a time before returning to his house and meowing to be let back in.
Jimmy’s mother, Sue Zelitsky, told The Dodo, “He used to go in and out every day but always came back, except that one night.”
Jimmy was 13 years old when Zelitsky’s husband let him outdoors to play for a bit. When it was time for him to return inside, they yelled Jimmy’s name again and searched every possible location – but Jimmy never returned.
Jimmy’s family was heartbroken, and they distributed missing cat fliers around their area. Every time Zelitsky took the family dog for a walk, she would scream out for Jimmy, just in case he was around.
Zelitsky was on Facebook two and a half years later when she stumbled found a post from the West Milford Animal Shelter about a stray cat who’d been rescued from the streets — and he looked eerily similar to Jimmy.
Zelitsky reacted quickly to the post, attempting to determine whether the missing cat was actually her beloved Jimmy. The proof that Jimmy had been discovered kept building up after texting back and forth with the shelter.
“After the huge March blizzard, he was found roughly 10 miles from our house and brought in to the West Milford Animal Shelter,” Zelitsky said. “I went to visit him after some exchange of photographs and other physical characteristics.”
Zelitsky grabbed a few items she believed Jimmy may remember before heading to the shelter with her neighbor, whom Jimmy adored. The workers at the shelter greeted them warmly and took them back to meet the lost cat, which Zelitsky recognized right away as Jimmy.
“‘Jim, is that you bud?’ I said as soon as we unlocked the cage. And he went up to me and head-butted me, and I burst out laughing “According to Zelitsky.
Later, Zelitsky brought her husband in to visit Jimmy, and Jimmy recognized and greeted him with the same warmth. There was no question in anyone’s mind that this was Jimmy, and that he had somehow managed to return home.